The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 12, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Lampson Lake a new outdoor sports haven

For the Star Beacon

— The transformation of Lampson Lake from a reservoir with an unsafe dam to a 92-acre Ashtabula County Metropark with public fishing and duck hunting is now in full swing.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy staff members recently installed 17 wood duck nesting boxes at the lake, which was formerly used as a drinking water source for the Village of Jefferson. The boxes were funded by a $1,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and assembled throughout the summer by youths attending the 4-H Camp Whitewood.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife this fall is stocking thousands of fingerling largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegills at the lake.

The former reservoir’s earthen dam was unsafe and potentially hazardous, according to a state safety inspection report, and rebuilding it to modern standards would have been costly to Ashtabula County taxpayers.

The Land Conservancy arranged for the purchase of the property with funding from an Ohio EPA 319 Grant ($182,000), the Ashtabula County Sportsmen’s Recreational Land Conservation League ($46,000), the county ($40,000) and USFW Service ($2,000). The Land Conservancy contributed staff time and services to the project; in addition, the Ashtabula Chapter of Ducks Unlimited has agreed to monitor the duck nest boxes.

In 2011, the former reservoir was drawn down to so soils could be assessed and site work completed. Earthwork and wetland plantings were completed August 2011, with final plantings and seeding done about three months ago. The project, which reduced the size of the lake but added 24 acres of restored wetlands to the existing 30 acres of high-quality wetlands, was designed and constructed by Enviroscience Inc.

“We are honored to be part of this great community project and to help pull together the public and private funding necessary to transform this beautiful property into a public park,” Brett Rodstrom, the Land Conservancy’s northeastern field director, said.

The property, which is in Jefferson Township, contains three-quarters of a mile of frontage on Mill Creek. The land will be officially turned over to the Ashtabula County Metroparks next spring.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources had determined as far back as 1994 that the 0.5- to 0.75-mile-long earthen dam was in “poor condition.” The dam, which held back a reservoir with an average depth of 10 feet, deteriorated due to erosion, animal burrowing and tree roots.

Brandon Mitchell, executive director of Camp Whitewood, said the wood duck boxes were made from local lumber.

“The campers and staff enjoyed assembling and painting the boxes throughout the summer camp sessions while learning about conservation and providing habitat for wildlife,” he said.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that has preserved more than 420 properties and more than 30,000 acres in northern Ohio. In Ashtabula County alone, the Land Conservancy has preserved 51 properties and 5,512 acres. The preserved acreage includes the Land Conservancy-owned Ashcroft Woods Preserve, a nearly 900-acre tract in the Grand River Lowlands as well as no fewer than 10 agricultural easements in excess of 200 acres.

Hangin’ 10!

Ohio youth hunters will participate in the state’s 10th annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season this month, according to the Division of Wildlife. This year’s deer-gun youth hunting season is Saturday and Sunday.

Ohio youth hunters killed 8,867 deer in 2011 and at least 8,300 deer in the two-day season every year since 2005. Youth hunters killed 422 more deer in 2011 compared to 2010.

“When we first started youth hunting seasons, we focused on what we could do to make hunting easier and more enjoyable for kids. We wanted to expand their opportunities,” said Vicki Mountz, information and education executive administrator with the Division of Wildlife. “Youth hunting seasons have been very successful, and we are happy to see kids get out there and enjoy that time.”

The youth deer-gun season is open statewide to hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit. Plugged shotguns using slugs, muzzleloaders .38 caliber and larger, handguns .357 caliber or larger and bows are legal. All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license and a youth deer permit and must be accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult.

Youth hunters can commemorate their achievement with a First Harvest certificate, available at Parents can upload a photo and type in the hunter’s information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth season. All hunters, including deer-archery hunters, are required to wear hunter orange during this time. More information can be found in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at

Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Please remember to protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

Stamp contest

The fifth annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Contest will feature Ohio’s many native turtle species, found throughout the state in many different habitats, from woodlands to lakes to swamps.

“Turtles are some of the most recognizable animals in Ohio,” Scott Zody Division of Wildlife chief. “Children especially enjoy viewing and identifying turtles in their native habitats. The Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is a great way to bring positive attention to turtle conservation.”

Native Ohio turtles include Blanding’s turtle, eastern box turtle, eastern musk turtle, eastern spiny soft-shell turtle, midland painted turtle, midland smooth soft-shell turtle, Northern map turtle, Ouachita map turtle, snapping turtle and spotted turtle.

Sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp benefits the Wildlife Diversity Fund, which is used to protect and manage many wild animals and their habitats. Conservation is important for some Ohio turtle species. The spotted turtle is listed as a threatened species in the state, which means the species may become endangered under continued or increased stress. The eastern box turtle and Ouchita map turtle are species of concern, which means those species might become threatened in Ohio.

The 2014 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp will feature one winning photo submission of any native turtle. Entries will be accepted Aug. 5-16, 2013, and the photographer with the winning image will receive $500. The selection of the winning photo will be made by Aug. 30, 2013. The contest is open to Ohioans age 18 years and older. However, budding photographers age 17 and younger will be able to compete in the youth division. For complete contest rules, visit

Last year’s contest consisted of 114 images submitted by 58 photographers. Bruce DiVaccaro of Sheffield Village submitted the winning photo of a black-capped chickadee after taking the photo in his Lorain County backyard. The 2013 Wildlife Legacy Stamp will be available for purchase on March 1.

The inaugural Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp featured a Baltimore oriole and went on sale March 1, 2010. Subsequent stamps featured an eastern amber wing and a spotted salamander. Over the past 3 1/2 years, the program has raised more than $84,000. The collectible stamp and its companion photo contest are part of an innovative program intended to raise awareness and support for wildlife diversity.

It is important to note $14 out of every $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp sold is invested in Ohio’s Wildlife Diversity Fund. The fund supports habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements, wildlife and habitat research projects, creation of wildlife educational materials, as well as efforts to restore and conserve endangered and threatened species.

Promotion and sale of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp has been a grassroots effort and has been successful thanks to the dedication of conservation groups across Ohio. Stamp collectors and conservationists will be able to purchase the 2010, 2011 and 2012 stamps for a limited time. More information about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and other wildlife-related topics can be found at

Dylan’s first deer

Nine-year-old Dylan Cotton who has been hunting with his dad since he was seven was so anxious to go hunting he went so far as to leave a friend’s birthday party early because he was so eager to get out into the woods.

No turkey today

Ryan Cotton, Dylan’s dad, and Dylan got into the woods on Oct. 21, 2012 around 4 that Sunday. There wasn’t much activity until around 5 when a flock of about 20 turkeys came into view. They watched them with amazement as they passed by and if nothing else it helped pass the time. Although Dylan does enjoy turkey hunting it wasn’t what they were hunting on that particular day but seeing all them was an exciting experience for him.

Deer 30

From about 5:45 to 6:30, things were pretty uneventful. Around the last light, deer 30, of the day Dylan and Ryan were standing in the tree stand intently watching and listening for any movements. Ryan just happened to look to his right (towards the west) and saw the buck coming straight down the scent trail they had left.

Perfect timing

It was perfect timing, the deer walked behind a tree, which gave Dylan time to sit down and grab his bow. The buck then eased out from behind the tree and took a few more steps towards them. It stopped about 25 yards away, looked in their direction and stood there for what seemed like five minutes, which in all actuality was probably only about 30 seconds. He then it took a few more steps right up to the scent wafer hanging on a tree 19 yards away and turned broadside.

‘Can I shoot?’

Dylan leaned over and whispered, “Can I shoot it?” Ryan softly eked out a, “Yes, aim behind his shoulder”. Dylan took careful aim eased the safety off and squeezed the trigger. The bolt flew straight to its mark hitting him his quarry in the spine and dropping him where he stood.

‘Mom I GOT ONE!’

Dylan’s first phone call was to his mom (Jessica Cotton). He was so excited all he kept saying was, “Mom. I GOT ONE, I GOT ONE!” Jessica didn’t even know until she talked to Ryan a few minutes later that it was a buck.

All smiles

When they pulled up on the 4-wheeler to where Ryan and Dylan had dragged the deer out to, Dylan was all smiles. Jessica made the comment, “Honestly, I don’t know who was smiling more, Dylan, his dad Ryan, or his “Papa Randy.” “I have never seen him so excited.” He looked at her and said “Mom, I just can’t stop shaking!” “Our whole family is just so excited for Dylan. He has put in a lot of time in the woods in the past two years and it has finally paid off.”

A family tradition

A point of interest may be that Dylan comes from a long line of hunters; his grandpa (Randy Cotton, who’s property the deer was shot on) shot his first deer around the age of 13 and Dylan’s dad was 11 years old when he shot his first buck. So the tradition carries on, as it should be.

Dylan’s stats

Nine-year-old Dylan Cotton who attends Jefferson Elementary School shot his first deer ever, a 5 point buck, on October 21, 2012 at 6:45 p.m. on his grandpa’s, Randy Cotton, property in Plymouth Township. His buck sported 5 points, one antler had 3 points on it, and the other one has 2.

The antler with only 2 points actually grows straight down the deer’s head. He was shooting a Horton crossbow powered by Easton XX75 bolts tipped with Rage 100 grain 2 bladed broadheads. He shot his buck at 19 yards and he didn’t travel any further. They were sitting in a 2-man treestand about 15 feet up wearing Mossy Oak Camo using a HS Strut Doe Estrous Wafers as an attractant and Scent Away Scent Block as a cover scent.

They checked his buck in via the ODNR’s Internet checking system and figured he field dressed in at around 130 pounds. Way to go young man, keep up the good work and make sure you thank dad and grandpa for passing on the tradition!

Ya just gotta love guys like that!

Remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

Oh, deer!

As of Nov. 6, the deer harvest stats for Ashtabula County and some surrounding counties are as follows:

Ashtabula — Bucks taken 353, Doe’s taken 615, Button Bucks 140, 2012, Total 1108

Geauga — Bucks taken 151, Doe’s taken 380, Button Bucks taken 78, Total, 609

Lale — Bucks taken 103, Doe’s taken 197, Button Bucks taken 35, Total 335

Trumbull — Bucks taken 346, Doe’s taken 475, Button Bucks taken 157, Total 978



The Lyme Disease Support Group, LYME BITES is hosting a lecture on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. by Dr. J. Joseph, a Lyme disease specialty physician who will be speaking on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease followed by a question and answer session. Medical personnel and support givers are encouraged to attend.

The lecture will be held at the Jefferson Health Care’s (Jefferson Geriatric) conference room located at 222 East Beech St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047. Please park in the back and enter through the Dialysis doors.

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are not required but appreciated. For more information, contact Janine Kirby at 858-2614.

Buck Fever Night

The Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) in conjunction with Whitetails Unlimited is having their annual Buck Fever Night Banquet on Nov. 23, 2012 at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds Expo building located in Jefferson. The doors will open and social hour will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by dinner at approximately 6:30p.m.

Single non-member tickets cost $25.

Table Captain Package, $250 includes10 Buck Fever Tickets, Entry in Table Captain-Only Gun Drawing, Free WTU Cap, Seats reserved in your name, Recognition as a special WTU guest.

Become a Sponsor. Sponsor Package; Donate $150 in cash or merchandise, and receive our WTU sponsor knife set and decal, two Buck Fever tickets, and entry into a Sponsor-Only Gun Drawing! Please call for merchandise sponsorship opportunity.

Early Bird Drawing: Purchase your Buck Fever tickets by Thursday and be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 in Hunter Raffle Tickets!

Raffles; $100 Hunters Raffle Package, 9 Gun Board Raffle tickets, 30 Bucket Raffle tickets, WTU Gift, WTU 1-Year Membership.

Purchase before Nov. 21 and also receive a Bonus Gun Ticket and a free $50 Hunters Raffle Book (3 gun board raffle tickets 10 bucket raffle tickets). This item must be picked up at event. Buck Fever ticket NOT included!

Life Members, you will enter your life member number upon checkout to apply your discount if applicable. Discount only applies to membership events. Deadline date for ticket purchases is Nov. 21, 2012.

For more information and tickets call, Ron Tusai 563-3384, Dennis Malloy (330) 507-9489 or WTU Headquarters @ 800-274-5471 or go online at

Support Local Conservation: 50 percent of all net proceeds will go directly back to your local area for conservation-related activities. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth programs in cooperation with Ashtabula County Conservation League.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at

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